About Us

Our History & Ethos

‘to advance education, through creative means’

Phil Richards initially ran The Complete Works as a ‘Theatre in Education’ company and began staging educational plays, creative projects and workshops in mainstream schools in 1999.

It was evident from the outset that those young people who, for one reason or another, were disillusioned with education, still somehow remained inspired by the Performing Arts. During the first year of the company’s operation, Phil was asked if he could find a way to teach a particularly difficult-to-engage young person, who was refusing to go to school, to read. Drawing from skills acquired in Drama, Phil developed the creative methods of learning that motivated this young person to re-engage with education and subsequently gain entrance to college. This initial success led to many other young people being referred to work with the company in a similar way. Those who benefitted from being taught alongside others were grouped together and, as a consequence, the company became known as an ‘Alternative Provision.’

As the company evolved, we built a strong educational infrastructure and became registered as an exam centre, in order that students could sit GCSE examinations with us. Keen to have the quality of our work inspected by Ofsted, we applied to the Department for Education for Independent School Status, which was then awarded to us in 2013. Our experience of working with young people who have become disillusioned with mainstream schooling has taught us that re-engagement with education cannot simply be achieved by recreating the same model which has been rejected. Our approach to learning is to create a safe environment where young people feel supported, then nurture their creativity, and give them opportunities to increase their knowledge. This allows students to gain confidence and self-esteem and enables them to develop their skills of communication and their ability to work with others.


Our goal is to reach every young person who is referred to us. to this end, we work tirelessly to find the creative spark which will ignite their interest in learning and empower them to realise their full potential.

Each student is considered on an individual basis, and a tailor-made programme of education is designed to meet his or her specific needs. This may take the form of one-to-one tuition, group tuition, or a combination of both. The company’s objective has always been ‘to advance education, through creative means,’ and although the word ‘theatre’ no longer appears in the company name, creativity remains intrinsic to the work we undertake with all our students. Since the company’s incorporation, we have supported thousands of young people, both inside and outside the school setting, to re-engage with education and to learn creatively and achieve academically. In addition to the operation of our Independent School, the company continues to tour plays and delivers creative projects to other schools throughout London and the surrounding areas.

Our Team

Consultant CEO & Headteacher:
Phil Richards BA Hons. Dip RSA, MA (QTS)

Phil Richards trained as a theatre practitioner at the Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance. He taught for 20 years in mainstream schools, which included running the Drama Department at the Brit School of Performing Arts. He has also worked extensively with students who have disabilities, special educational needs and emotional and behavioral difficulties. He delivers lectures at Goldsmiths University of London and runs inset courses on using creative methods of interaction across the curriculum. He founded The Complete Works in partnership with the late Neil Powney, in 1999.

Consultant CEO and Headteacher:
Phil Richards
Deputy Chief Executive:
Chrissie Roberts
Office Manager:
Tina Solanki
Head of School:
Adam Dalton
Assistant to the Head of School:
Karina Cornwell
Curriculum Manager:
Aimee Warley
Education Manager:
Chris Rosser
Education Coordinator:
Charlotte Pugh
Education Coordinator:
Dean Phillips
HR Coordinator:
Shadia Chowdhury



The school’s operation is overseen by the Trustees of The Complete Works Charity. They possess a wide range of qualifications and experience gained in both education and the arts. The Present Board consists of the following members:

Brigid Jackson-Dooley
Rob Castell
Cheryl Aaron
Sue Clark
Maggie Pitfield

Tutors & Training

As TCW began primarily as an arts education company, our original intention was to educate through the arts.

The majority of our tutors are primarily, qualified, experienced arts practitioners. Many have graduate and post-graduate qualifications in subjects such as Theatre, Drama, Film, Music, Dance and even Circus Skills. Utilising the skills they have gained from these disciplines, they are very well equipped to work in ways that enable students to engage creatively with their studies.

We recognise, however, the importance of implementing a wide range of effective teaching strategies; and to this end, tutors attend monthly in-service training sessions. These sessions are designed to extend their teaching skills in regard to young people who have additional needs, and to keep them up-to-date with new education policies and developments in the National Curriculum. Training sessions are delivered by lecturers working at Goldsmiths, University of London and by specialist advisors from organisations such as the NSPCC, Team-Teach and The Red Cross. Subjects covered include: Recognising Dyslexia and Dyspraxia, Managing ‘Difficult-to-Engage’ Young People, Employing Methods of De-escalation and Physical Restraint, Strategies for Teaching Students with Additional Needs, and Working with Autism.

We also recognise the importance of ensuring that our tutors are proficient in lesson-planning, marking students’ coursework, and meeting the syllabus requirements for the range of examination boards with whom we work.

all tutors are overseen by Advisory Teachers, who hold Qualified Teacher Status, and who ensure that the work delivered is of the highest standard and challenges all students to achieve.

In order to safeguard our young people, all staff regularly undergo clearance through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). They also receive appropriate training in child protection, and hold First Aid Certificates. As we are an Independent School, we operate our own unique form of education. This is, in many ways, very different from what a student may have experienced in the mainstream sector. However, we remain mindful of the need to maintain a wider perspective in terms of accepted educational methods and innovations. We are therefore always keen that our staff attend training delivered by other educational institutions, and we encourage them to share good practice and gain continuous professional development through partnerships with mainstream schools. We are also in the process of joining a school consortium, where we will be able to offer programmes that will enable tutors to gain QTS in association with Goldsmiths, University of London.


  • Lorraine Ashbourne

    Lorraine Ashbourne’s career spans both television and film. Some of the films she has starred in include “Fever Pitch”, “King Kong” and “The Martins”. Her many television appearances include “Playing The Field”, “Casualty”, “Thin Ice” and “The Street.”

  • Andy Serkis

    Andy Serkis is celebrated on both stage and screen. A few of his many roles have included The fool in Max Stafford-Clark’s production of “King Lear”, Iago in Braham Murray’s adaptation of “Othello”, and of course his outstanding creation of the characters Gollum/Smeagol in “The Lord Of The Rings” and the giant gorilla in “King Kong”.

  • Art Malik

    Art Malik’s first major role came in 1982 when he was cast as Hari Kumar the critically acclaimed “Jewel in the Crown”. He also played the part of Mahmoud in the hugely successful film “A Passage to India”. He has starred in many other film and television productions including the Hollywood production “True Lies” in the role of Salim and as Zubin Kahn in “Holby City”.

  • Nitin Sawnhey

    Nitin Sawhney is widely recognised as an influential musician with versatile abilities and has released 7 studio albums and scored over 40 films. He is a world-class producer, songwriter, DJ, multi-instrumentalist, orchestral composer and cultural pioneer and has achieved 15 major national awards for his work.

  • Jayne Ashbourne

    Jayne Ashbourne has a long list of television credits to her name including Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Peak Practice, Casualty, Emmerdale, The Grand and regular roles in Bodies and New Street Law. Her stage credits include Trolius & Cressida for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the lead role in the 2004 West End production of Les Liasons Dangereuses.

Explore our site


Our School

Responding creatively to the specific needs of the young people who are referred to us has not only sharpened our vision but also shaped the type of provision we offer them, resulting in our metamorphosis from a Theatre-in-Education Company to an Alternative Education Provision and consequently into an Independent School.

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About us

Since the formation of the company as a charity in 1999, our organisation has grown organically, adapting and changing to accommodate new trends, whilst maintaining a clear vision to empower people of all ages and abilities to gain access to education, using the arts.

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Each person’s individual achievement is far more important to us than league tables and the comments we have received from parents and students are very complimentary in this respect.  However our statistics show that we have certainly enabled large numbers of students to gain good levels of attainment in nationally recognised qualifications, and our Ofsted report has confirmed that what we offer is ‘Good!’

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The creative process remains at the heart of everything we do and alongside the school provision we run, we deliver talks, run workshops and tour productions to schools and organisations who would like learn more about how we work, interact with us, or commission performances.

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News & Blogs

We do our very best to keep people up-to-speed with the educational innovations and creative projects the company is involved in and we are often on the lookout for like-minded people who are keen to work with us and utilise their creative skills to make a difference to young people’s lives.

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Get in touch

We are always keen to hear from those who would like to access our service, comment on our work or support us to achieve our aim, which has always been “The advancement of education, through creativity, for people of all ages and abilities.”

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